Start Capital dating back to 1000 ad

Capital dating back to 1000 ad

These findings illustrate a way that archaeologists can recreate the past even when looters have destroyed the valuable artifacts that would ordinarily be relied upon to reveal historical secrets.

The exhausted farmland surrounding the city could no longer support the number of residents.

Eventually the trade routes in the interior between the Zambezi valley and the ports on the Indian Ocean changed, costing Great Zimbabwe its control over regional commerce.

"Ideas and technology concerning metallurgy might have spread after these collapses, but it's still a mystery of where metallurgy came from here," Cooke said.

Ndoro, "Great Zimbabwe" Scientific American 277:5 (1997).

"There's a lot you can't tell about history from the metal artifacts here because there's been a lot of looting, during both modern times and when the Spanish first arrived to melt down what silver and other metals were there to send back to the Spanish crown," said researcher Colin Cooke, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta in Canada.

Curious emergence of metallurgy To recreate a millennium of metallurgical history, the scientists measured the concentrations of copper, lead, zinc, antimony, bismuth, silver and titanium in sediments from Laguna Pirhuacocha , a lake in the mining region of Morococha in Peru that metal pollutants from furnace smoke contaminated.

The Hill Complex is the oldest part of the city with pottery and burials dating to the 6th century.